Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Good that Came of Mother's Day

Though Mother's Day was a tough, PMS-y day for me, I did want to come back around and mention something quite lovely that happened on Sunday. I woke up Sunday morning feeling completely down in the dumps. I thought I was prepared for Mother's Day and that it wouldn't affect me too much. And honestly, I'm not sure if the Mother's Day thing was really the reason behind my crappy emotions, or if that just became my excuse for them.

I'm not one of those people that wants to completely cut myself off from others when I'm miserable. That might actually be a decent option compared to what my inclinations are. Instead, I want to pull others down with me. I want the world to know that I'm miserable and to feel desperately sorry for me--and guilty about their lack of misery. On a day like Mother's Day, I want to rain a little on the happiness of all the mothers around me.

Isn't that horrible? I know it's natural and human and normal and all, but I still don't think it's right, and so I'm working on channeling that self-pity into better places--like more compassion and sensitivity for others feeling miserable.

But back to Sunday. I woke up feeling awful and wanted the world to know it. But I also really care what others think about me, so I wasn't about to do anything really overtly horrible and mean. Instead, I posted this simple status update to Facebook:
Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Father's Day: Holidays during which those who have unintentionally rub salt in the wounds of those who have not.
I was a little unsure about whether I should post it or not. As much as I wanted to ruin others' happiness, I didn't want them to think I was trying to ruin their happiness. But I thought that update was fairly innocuous, and would perhaps just alert the people who really care about me that I wasn't doing so great.

I got home from church later and saw that I had a Facebook message from my mother-in-law. Actually, it was from my father-in-law's account, which made me really nervous at first because I didn't really want any sappy messages from him. But my MIL likes to write from his account sometimes (I can't figure out why--she has her own), so it was from her. And here is what it said:

You have been on my mind much yesterday and again this morning. Thank you for making my Mother's Day special with the surprise of flowers. They are beautiful. Your way with words is beautiful as well. Your facebook post flows almost poetically while sharing such an ache. Your compassion for and sensitivity to others is a good reminder for us all. May God hold you close to Himself today and give you great blessings.
I started crying as soon as I read it. I found out later that she had been crying as she posted it. Pete told his parents last summer that we were having some issues trying to get pregnant, but we haven't really talked to them about it since. I think, like so many others, they think that we might not want them to bring it up. Or they just feel awkward about it. Their family has never been that great at having conversations about deeper-level issues. (As a side note, why do so many people think we don't want them to ask how we're doing in the infertility department? When I'm feeling down, I desperately want to talk about it, but the last thing I need is the pressure to have to bring it up myself.) So this was the first time my MIL had directly communicated with me about it, and the first time she expressed that she was really hurting for me. 

I can't even explain how much that meant to me. Pete's younger sister got pregnant "accidentally" (of course!) within a year of her wedding, so the in-laws have one granddaughter already. I don't know why, but somehow that fact together with their lack of communication about our infertility had actually left me feeling slightly hurt, though I knew there wasn't any reason to be and completely understood where they were. Pete talked to his mom later that afternoon and just let her know that we do appreciate being asked about how things are going. It's therapeutic to talk about it, and to know people care and are praying for us.

He also encouraged her to call me sometime next week, when he'll be gone (Sunday through Friday). She probably will. And I have to say that I'm actually a little nervous about it. I dislike talking on the phone, and I've never talked to her about issues I'm really, deeply struggling with. So I anticipate some awkwardness, and I hate awkwardness. I also anticipate that I might cry, thus compounding the awkwardness--especially on the phone. But if she does call, I know she'll be stepping out of her way to show love to me, so I suppose I can be a little vulnerable and at least talk back.


Kakunaa said...

I love what you posted on FB. Very powerful. And perhaps this will be a turn for the positive in your relationship with the IL's. Maybe a new person to lean on? To support you? See where it goes, but take care of you!

Adele said...

I'm so glad that you got that response, from someone who so obviously thinks about it, and about you, on a regular basis. It's lovely and I teared up a bit reading it.

It's so hard, isn't it? I realize that so often people who do know don't know what to say and so often they say nothing. It's just...hard.

But a very, very nice outcome to a difficult day.

Nic said...

I am totally tearing up at your post and your MIL's response. I'm so glad that you will have another shoulder to lean on through all this. She sounds like a real sweetheart.

Shirley said...

I have been thinking about your post all afternoon and even now, I'm crying again.
Your FB was real and raw.
Your momIL response was transforming.

It transforms your heartache (and bitterness) into compassion and heartache.
It transforms your relationship with your ILs to one of support and openness.
Thanks so much for sharing about it. I really hope this is a good first step in creating a support network for you through this process. Let us know how ur conversation with her goes next week?

We have not told my MiL about our 3rd miscarriage as she has been grieving the loss of her husband for the last 4 months ago. We didn't want to give her more things to be sad about or to give her the impression that we were unable or too burdened to give her the support, care, and time she needs from us on a a daily basis. I understand your heartache in not being able or not feeling welcome to share about things that way SOO heavily in your heart.
If I could, I would give u a big hug.

Crossed Fingers said...

Aw - that is a great gift and it sounds like your MIL not only loves you but truly cares about you. I also love the FB post - it was too the point while also reminding others to remember not everyone is happy the day is here.

AnxiousMummyto3 said...

I'm so happy that your mother-in-law reached out to you like that and responded to your need. If it is awkward, so be it. I think you can definitely talk back. You are strong enough to share even a little bit of this journey with her.
**sorry for my lack of comments lately-slap me!**

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was nice of your MIL. Sometimes all we want is some acknowledgement... happy ICLW!